On June 26th, during the UNC Primary Care Sports Medicine Fellowship graduation ceremony, the newly created Harry C. Stafford Endowment for Community Service was announced. Alumni of the program surprised its Director, Harry Stafford, MD, MBA, with the endowment that honors his ongoing commitment to humanitarian service beyond clinical care.  The fund will serve to support the community service activities of the program going forward.

Harry Stafford
Harry Stafford, MD, MBA, CSCS

“Dr. Stafford has established the nation’s premiere fellowship program in primary care sports medicine which not only provides trainees with outstanding medical training, but also instills in them a sense of responsibility toward our communities,” said Margaret Helton, MD, Interim Chair of the UNC Department of Family Medicine. “Fellows in our sports medicine program follow Dr. Stafford’s example of how a physician can selflessly serve communities, and our residents and faculty are inspired to do the same. With the establishment of this endowment, even more people can support Dr. Stafford’s community initiatives. We are so proud to have him in our department.”

Efforts to establish the endowment were led by Joshua Berkowitz, MD, FACP, FAAP, CAQSM, an alumnus of the program and faculty member at UNC.

“Dr. Stafford has consistently demonstrated, as much as anyone I know, a tireless dedication to the service of others,” Berkowitz said. “Professionally, his work ethic is unrivaled and he carries that same energy into bettering his community beyond the clinic, the training room or the sidelines. Within the UNC Primary Care Sports Medicine Fellowship program, he has instilled a commitment to reach outside of our practice environments and support those in need wherever they are, and I can think of no one more deserving of recognition than him.”

Stafford attended UNC Chapel Hill for his undergraduate degree and received his medical degree from the UNC School of Medicine. He then completed a Sports Medicine Fellowship at Duke University and joined their Sports Medicine faculty before returning to UNC to serve as Director of the Primary Care Sports Medicine Fellowship. He currently serves as the head team physician for UNC Women’s Basketball and the Men’s and Women’s Track and Field and Cross-Country teams. The Sports Medicine Fellowship Program also provides care to NC Central University and several local high schools.

Stafford teaching at NCCU

Stafford serves as an active member of the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine and American College of Sports Medicine. He is currently doing research in the areas of Sports Nutrition, EKG changes in African American athletes, and Sickle Cell Trait in athletes. Given his phenomenal record of service, it is no surprise that Dr. Stafford has been the recipient of prestigious awards recognizing his humanitarian efforts, academic pursuits, and care of athletes.

The new endowment will be used to support the community service activities of the UNC Primary Care Sports Medicine fellowship program in keeping with Dr. Stafford’s commitment to humanitarian service. This includes expenses related to community service projects organized and completed by fellowship program learners, staff or faculty, or other community service initiatives as deemed appropriate by the administrator. In keeping with Dr. Stafford’s passion for volunteering, these funds are not intended to support faculty, staff, or learner salaries.

Berkowitz said the endowment offers a source of perpetual funding, ensuring that community service remains a cornerstone of the UNC Primary Care Sports Medicine Fellowship program for as long as Stafford serves as Director and well beyond. “As it should be,” he said, “Dr. Stafford’s name will forever be linked with giving to others.”

Anyone interested in contributing to the Harry C. Stafford, MD, Endowment for Community Service can contact Brad Wilson, brad_wilson@med.unc.edu.